Geetanjali Shree's 'Tomb of Sand' Is 1st Hindi Novel To Win Int’l Booker Prize

Delhi-based author Geetanjali Shree has become the first Indian writer to win the International Booker Prize.

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Delhi-based author Geetanjali Shree on Thursday, 26 May, became the first Indian writer to win the International Booker Prize.

Her novel Ret Samadhi, translated into English as Tomb of Sand by Daisy Rockwell, is the first Hindi-language book to be shortlisted for the prestigious award.

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    (Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

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    (Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

In her acceptance speech, Shree said that she "never dreamt of the Booker and I never thought I could."

The Booker Prize website hails the novel as an "urgent and timely protest against the destructive impact of borders and boundaries – whether between religions, countries or genders."

The shortlist for the prize included six books, each translated from a different language and originating from a different country, with three continents represented on the list. The Tomb of Sand has won £50,000, which will be split evenly between the author and translator.


Set in northern India, Tomb of Sand chronicles the journey of an 80-year-old woman, who after her husband’s death, slips into depression. During the course of the novel, the woman decides to visit Pakistan to confront the past that she left behind during the Partition.

'Feels Good To Be the Means of That': Shree on 1st Hindi Novelist Winning Booker

Shree, in her award acceptance speech, said, "I never dreamt of the Booker and I never thought I could. What a huge recognition. I am amazed, delighted, honoured, and humbled. I want to start by thanking the Booker foundation and Booker jury for choosing this book. There is a melancholy satisfaction in the award going to it."

"Ever since the book got longlisted much has been written about Hindi making it for the first time. It feels good to be the means of that happening but it also obliges me to emphasize that behind me and this book lies a rich and flourishing literary tradition in Hindi and in other South Asian languages. World literature will be richer for knowing some of the finest writers in these languages. The vocabulary of life will increase from such an interaction."
Geetanjali Shree

Speaking about the book, Shree said, "Ret-Samadhi Tomb of Sand is the eulogy for the world we inhabit, a laughing eulogy that retains hope in the face of impending doom. The Booker will surely take it to many more people than it would have done otherwise."

'Very Proud Day for India': Manish Sisodia, Priyanka Gandhi Celebrate on Twitter

Stating that it was a "very proud day for India," Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted, "Geetanjali Shree has brought laurels to Hindi literature on the world stage, and has set a new example for the litterateurs of the country! We are all very proud of her historic achievement."

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also congratulated the winners on Twitter, saying, "While sharing the joy of the award, it would also be interesting to say that the splendid and diverse literature of Indian languages ​​deserves the best awards."

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Varun Gandhi and the women's wing of the Congress party also celebrated the award on Twitter.

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